Monday, January 12, 2015

1-12-15 President's Weekly Letter

Dear Elders and Sisters,

The excitement and glitter of the holidays are behind us. Although it is fun to participate in the many activities and traditions of the holiday season, this year you will have remembered the season for the faith and diligence you exemplified in bringing souls unto Christ. Quickly approaching is another holiday season, Chinese New Year, with its unique traditions and customs, but without the significance of being centered on the Savior. As such, it is a fun and interesting time of the year but presents some challenges, as well as some opportunities, for missionary work. We need an increase of focus and diligence in order to continue baptizing prepared souls throughout 2015.

I am grateful for the faith and effort that we, individually, as companionships and as a mission put forth in December as we baptized more than 60 people. Heading into the last week we needed 23 baptisms to reach our goal. We had 26 week A goals and ultimately helped 25 people be baptized that week. That is a remarkable accomplishment that required (forgive me for being repetitive) a lot of faith, a lot of energy and a lot of focus in helping your investigators keep their commitments to the Lord. It shows what we can do when we are united and motivated in bringing souls unto Christ. I am grateful for each of you and the prayers, work and sacrifice that you rendered in behalf of the Savior.

As we have settled back to work after such a great month, some of you have remarked in your emails that the work is challenging right now. An inevitable result of baptizing so many people is that our investigator pool is depleted! In addition, our baptismal goals are down. We need to continue with the same zeal to help our current investigators keep their commitments, find new investigators, and invite them to be baptized. This is the time for us to respond in faith and let the Lord work His miracles on our behalf. Two important characteristics of missions that have increasing numbers of baptisms are 1) the missionaries have a firm belief that they will baptize and 2) they pray for and expect miracles. From our experience just last month, you have demonstrated that we have these characteristics in the Taichung Mission!

Two weeks ago I asked our missionaries to send me the names of those who they thought could be baptized in the month of January. I now have a list of over 80 names! Of course Satan is surely intensifying his forces and all 80 may not be baptized this month, but we have people who are earnestly engaged in the process of conversion and the potential is there if we exercise sufficient faith and diligence. You are the “chosen vessels of the Lord” who have been called to bear witness of Him (see Moroni 7:31). You are an important part of Heavenly Father’s plan to, “bringeth to pass… the covenants which he hath made unto the children of men. And Christ hath said: If ye will have faith in me ye shall have power to do whatsoever thing is expedient in me” (Moroni 7:33).

Let us press forward with continued faith, energy and focus, believing that we can accomplish all that the Lord would have us do. I have the utmost confidence in you.

President Blickenstaff

Mentor of Champions

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